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Carolina Trust Bank Reports Full Year 2012 Net Loss to Common Shareholders of $60,000, a $2,240,000 Net Improvement From the



Carolina Trust Bank Reports Full Year 2012 Net Loss to Common Shareholders of
$60,000, a $2,240,000 Net Improvement From the Loss in 2011

Bank Reports Loss in 4Q of 2012 as Provision for Losses Increase; Exits
Federal TARP Program, Repurchases 35% of Preferred Shares

Core Operations Remain Solid as Net Interest Margin, Net Interest Income and
Non-Interest Income All Improve During 2012

Total Revenues - Less Interest Expense - Increase by $1.69 Million in 2012
From 2011

LINCOLNTON, N.C., Feb. 8, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Carolina Trust Bank
(Nasdaq:CART) today reported full year 2012 net loss of $60,000, or $0.01 per
diluted common share attributable to common shareholders, compared to a 2011
net loss of $2.30 million, or $0.50 per diluted share attributable to common
shareholders. Excluding payment of dividends on preferred shares, the bank
realized net income of $217,000 for the full year 2012.

The company also announced that it has exited the U.S. Treasury's Capital
Purchase Program (CPP). This was accomplished through the Treasury's public
auction process. The $4.0 million in preferred stock was purchased by private
investors and the Bank subsequently repurchased 35% of the total from one of
the investors.

Core operating income for the year 2012 remained strong, despite a 2012 fourth
quarter that resulted in a net loss of $778,000 attributable to common
shareholders, or $0.17 per diluted common share. Excluding payment of
dividends for preferred shares, Carolina Trust's net loss for the fourth
quarter of 2012 was $669,000. Earnings were reduced by a provision for loan
loss of $1.10 million to offset increases in non-accrual loans. A significant
portion of the increases in non-accrual loans and the provision for loan
losses were related to one borrower. The borrower's ability to repay the loan
as agreed became doubtful at the end of December and the Bank increased
reserves as a response to that information. Fourth-quarter results compared to
a net loss of $1.40 million attributable to common shareholders, or $0.30 per
diluted common share, for the same period of 2011.

"Although fundamentals remain strong, the fourth quarter negatively impacted
our overall performance for 2012," said President and CEO J. Michael Cline.
"Despite the loss for the year, the Bank is on the right track and making
significant balance sheet improvements. We're putting quality loans on our
books despite an economy that still has many businesses sitting on the
sidelines. We continue to see positive trends in lending, deposit pricing, and
interest income. Our focus in 2013 is to maintain revenue growth, control
expenses, and efficiently manage our operations."

Full Year 2012 Financial Highlights

  * Net loss of $60,000 in 2012 reflected a $2.24 million net improvement over
    2011.
  * Funding costs declined by $1.18 million in 2012 from 2011, due to
    disciplined deposit pricing.
  * Net interest income in 2012 increased by $1.50 million from 2011.
  * Non-interest expense declined by $276,000 from 2011.

Total revenues, less interest expense, increased by $1.69 million to $11.74
million in 2012 from 2011. Net interest margin also benefitted from the bank's
disciplined pricing, improving by 0.58% to 4.10% in 2012 from 3.52% in 2011.

For the year 2012, net loan charge-offs to average loans declined to 0.93%
from 1.13% in 2011. Carolina Trust also realized significant improvements in
Return on Average Assets and Return on Average Equity in 2012. ROAA for 2012
was 0.08% compared to -0.77% in 2011, and ROAE improved to 0.81% in 2012 from
-7.74% the year before.

The U.S. Treasury recently sold its $4.0 million of preferred stock in
Carolina Trust Bank to private investors. The bank subsequently repurchased
$1.4 million of the outstanding preferred shares, thereby reducing future
dividend payments to 65% of its original level.

"It has been a challenge for community banks that participated in the CPP to
exit the program without significantly impacting capital levels," Cline said.
"We believe that our ability to repurchase 35% of the outstanding preferred
shares underscores the strength of our balance sheet. After the purchase, our
capital ratios continue to exceed regulatory requirements for being well
capitalized."

Fourth Quarter 2012 Financial Highlights

Balance Sheet

  * Total assets were $271.05 million at Dec. 31, 2012, compared to $283.16
    million at Sept. 30, 2012, and $266.16 million at Dec. 31, 2011.
  * Deposits totaled $233.86 million at Dec. 31, 2012, compared to $241.14
    million at Sept. 30, 2012, and $224.21 million at Dec. 31, 2011.
  * Total loans were $221.48 million at Dec. 31, 2012, compared to $223.72
    million at Sept. 30, 2012, and $209.90 million at Dec. 31, 2011.
  * Capital ratios at Dec. 31, 2012, exceeded regulatory levels for being
    "well-capitalized," reflecting a Tier 1 Leverage Ratio of 8.61%, Tier 1
    Risk-based Capital Ratio of 10.60%, and Total Risk-based Capital Ratio of
    11.86%.

Income Statement

  * Total revenues, less interest expense, were $3.02 million for the fourth
    quarter of 2012, compared to $3.01 million at Sept. 30, 2012, and $2.68
    million at Dec. 31, 2011.
  * Net interest income was $2.68 million in the fourth quarter of 2012,
    essentially flat from the previous quarter, but up $293,000 from the
    fourth quarter of 2011.
  * Interest expense in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $648,000, compared to
    $695,000 at Sept. 30, 2012, and $855,000 at Dec. 31, 2011.
  * Net Interest margin rose to 4.27% for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared
    to 4.14% at Sept. 30, 2012, and 3.79% at Dec. 31, 2011.

Credit Quality

  * Total nonperforming assets were $12.66 million at Dec. 31, 2012, compared
    to $10.08 million at Sept. 30, 2012, and $10.57 million at Dec. 31, 2011.
  * Nonperforming assets to total assets were 4.67% at Dec 31, 2012, compared
    to 3.56% at Sept. 30, 2012, and 3.97% at Dec. 31, 2011.
  * Non-accural loans were $8.49 million at Dec. 31, 2012, compared to $5.96
    million at Sept. 30, 2012, and $6.30 million at Dec. 31, 2011.
  * Net loan charge-offs for the fourth quarter of 2012 were $773,000,
    compared to $761,000 for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2012, and $469,000
    for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011.

Review of Balance Sheet

Total assets of $271.05 million at Dec. 31, 2012 declined $12.11 million from
Sept. 30, 2012, but increased by $4.89 million from Dec. 31, 2011. Total
deposits fell slightly to $233.86 million at Dec. 31, 2012, compared to the
third quarter of 2012, but increased by $9.66 million from Dec. 31, 2011.
Total loans were essentially flat at Dec. 31, 2012, marginally down $2.24
million from the previous quarter, but up $11.58 million from Dec. 31, 2011.

The repurchase of $1.40 million of outstanding preferred shares primarily
accounted for a decrease in shareholders' equity to $24.94 million at Dec. 31,
2012, from $26.98 million at Sept. 30, 2012. Even with the bank's repurchase
of preferred shares, Carolina Trust Bank continues to maintain strong capital
levels that exceed regulatory requirements for being "well-capitalized." At
Dec. 31, 2012, the bank reported Tier 1 Leverage Ratio of 8.61%, Tier 1
Risk-based Capital Ratio of 10.60%, and Total Risk-based Capital Ratio of
11.86%.

Review of Income Statement

Net interest margin continued to improve throughout 2012, benefitting from
lower funding costs and disciplined pricing. Interest expense was $648,000 for
the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012, declining $47,000 from the quarter ended
Sept. 30, 2012, and $207,000 from the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011. The ongoing
management of interest expense, which has trended favorably 12 straight
quarters, boosted net interest margin by 0.13% to 4.27% in the fourth quarter
of 2012, and 0.48% from the 3.79% reported at Dec. 31, 2011.

Net interest income was $2.68 million in the fourth quarter of 2012,
essentially flat compared to the previous quarter, but up $293,000 from the
quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011. Non-interest income of $348,000 for the fourth
quarter of 2012 realized a modest increase of $16,000 from the previous
quarter, and an increase of $53,000 from the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011.

Non-interest expense was $2.59 million in the fourth quarter of 2012,
representing an increase of $82,000 from the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2012, and
a decrease of $627,000 from the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011. Provision for
loan loss was $1.10 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012, an increase
of $528,000 from the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2012.

Review of Credit Quality

Total nonperforming assets, which include foreclosed property and non-accrual
loans, were $12.66 million at Dec. 31, 2012, an increase of $2.58 million from
Sept. 30, 2012, reflecting a rise in non-accrual commercial loans, primarily
related to one loan that was classified doubtful at the end of December.
Allowance for loan losses to nonperforming assets declined to 37.69% at Dec.
31, 2012, compared to 43.46% at Sept. 30, 2012, and 41.30% at Dec. 31, 2011.

Loans 30 to 89 days past due were $3.64 million at Dec. 31, 2012, compared to
$2.75 million at Sept. 30, 2012, and $3.57 million at Dec. 31, 2011.
Non-accrual loans were $8.49 million at Dec. 31, 2012, an increase of $2.54
million from Sept. 30, 2012. Net loan charge-offs were $773,000 for the
quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012, a marginal increase of $12,000 from the quarter
ended Sept. 30, 2012. Net loan charge-offs to average loans remained
relatively unchanged at 0.35% for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012, and 0.34%
for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2012.

Carolina Trust Bank is a full service state chartered bank headquartered in
Lincolnton, N.C., operating six full service branches in Lincoln, Catawba and
Gaston Counties in western North Carolina and loan production offices in
Forest City, N.C. and Hickory, N.C.

Forward-Looking Statement;

This news release contains forward-looking statements. Words such as
"anticipates," " believes," "estimates," "expects," "intends," "should,"
"will," variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to
identify forward-looking statements. These statements reflect management's
current beliefs as to the expected outcomes of future events and are not
guarantees of future performance. These statements involve certain risks,
uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict with regard to
timing, extent, likelihood and degree of occurrence. Therefore, actual results
and outcomes may materially differ from what may be expressed or forecasted in
such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause a difference
include, among others: changes in the national and local economies or market
conditions; changes in interest rates, deposit flows, loan demand and asset
quality, including real estate and other collateral values; changes in banking
regulations and accounting principles, policies or guidelines; and the impact
of competition from traditional or new sources. These and other factors that
may emerge could cause decisions and actual results to differ materially from
current expectations. Carolina Trust Bank takes no obligation to revise,
update, or clarify forward-looking statements to reflect events or conditions
after the date of this release.

                                                                    
Carolina Trust Bank
                                                                    
                    (Dollars in thousands)
                    December 31 September 30 June 30    March 31   December 31
                    2012        2012         2012       2012       2011
Balance Sheet Data:                                                 
Total Assets         271,051     283,164      283,829    276,365    266,162
Total Deposits       233,861     241,140      239,883    231,924    224,206
Total Loans          221,480     223,717      223,357    217,875    209,900
Reserve for Loan     4,773       4,383        4,534      4,417      4,366
Loss
Total Shareholders   24,935      26,977       27,004     26,566     26,045
Equity
                                                                    
                                                                    
                    (Dollars in thousands, except per share data)
                    For the three months ended
                    December 31 September 30 June 30    March 31   December 31
                    2012        2012         2012       2012       2011
Income and Per                                                      
Share Data:
Interest Income      3,324       3,374        3,339      3,299      3,238
Interest Expense     648         695          742        791        855
Net Interest Income  2,676       2,679        2,597      2,508      2,383
Provision for Loan   1,100       572          471        224        835
Loss
Net Interest Income  1,576       2,107        2,126      2,284      1,548
After Provision
Non-interest Income  348         332          342        259        295
Non-interest         2,593       2,511        2,094      1,959      3,220
Expense
Income (loss)        (669)       (72)         374        584        (1,377)
Before Taxes
Income Tax Expense   --          --           --         --         --
(benefit)
Net Income (loss)    (669)       (72)         374        584        (1,377)
                                                                    
Preferred Stock      109         73           73         22         22
Dividend
                                                                    
Income available
(loss) attributable  (778)       (145)        301        562        (1,399)
to common
shareholders
                                                                    
Net Income (loss)                                                   
Per Common Share:
Basic                (0.17)      (0.03)       0.07       0.12       (0.30)
Diluted              (0.17)      (0.03)       0.07       0.12       (0.30)
Average Common                                                      
Shares Outstanding:
Basic                4,634,482   4,634,286    4,634,286  4,634,262  4,634,262
Diluted              4,634,482   4,634,286    4,634,286  4,634,262  4,634,262
                                                                    
                                                                    
                                                                    
                    December 31 September 30 June 30    March 31   December 31
                    2012        2012         2012       2012       2011
Capital Ratios:                                                     
Tier 1 Leverage     8.61%       9.14%        9.33%      9.49%      9.32%
Ratio
Tier 1 Risk-based   10.60%      11.16%       11.20%     11.35%     11.49%
Capital Ratio
Total Risk-based    11.86%      12.41%       12.46%     12.61%     12.75%
Capital Ratio
                                                                    
Tangible Common      21,581      22,262       22,285     21,509     20,922
Equity
Common Shares        4,634,482   4,634,482    4,634,482  4,634,262  4,634,262
Outstanding
Book Value Per       4.66        4.80         4.81       4.64       4.51
Common Share
                                                                    
Performance Ratios:                                                 
Return on Average   -0.95%      -0.10%       5.40%      0.87%      -2.02%
Assets (%)
Return on Average   -9.93%      -1.04%       5.57%      8.91%      -19.88%
Equity (%)
Net Interest Margin 4.27%       4.14%        3.99%      3.99%      3.79%
(%)
                                                                    
Asset Quality:                                                      
Delinquent Loans (   3,639       2,751        4,599      4,102      3,571
30-89 days )
                                                                    
Delinquent Loans (   --          --           --         1          2
90 days or more )
Non-accrual Loans    8,494       5,957        6,739      6,290      6,297
OREO and
repossessed          4,169       4,127        4,876      4,459      4,272
property
 Total
Nonperforming        12,663      10,084       11,615     10,750     10,571
Assets
                                                                    
Restructured Loans   4,983       3,413        3,229      4,106      2,487
                                                                    
Nonperforming
Assets to Total     4.67%       3.56%        4.09%      3.89%      3.97%
Assets
Nonperforming
Assets to Equity    42.62%      32.16%       36.83%     34.70%     34.76%
Capital & ALLL
Allowance for Loan
Losses to           37.69%      43.46%       39.04%     41.09%     41.30%
Non-performing
Assets
Allowance for Loan
Losses to Total     2.16%       1.96%        2.03%      2.03%      2.08%
Loans
Net Loan            773         761          355         172        469
Charge-Offs
Net Loan
Charge-Offs to      0.35%       0.34%        0.16%      0.08%      0.23%
Average Loans (%)
                                                                    
Note: Financial information is unaudited.

CONTACT: J. Michael Cline
         President and CEO
         Carolina Trust Bank
         (704) 735-1104
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